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Windows Server 2003 : Configuring Zone Properties and Transfers - Exploring DNS Zone Properties (part 1)

3/11/2011 10:01:24 PM
The primary means to configure zone settings is through the zone properties dialog box, which is accessible through the DNS console. Each properties dialog box for a standard zone has five tabs: General, Start Of Authority (SOA), Name Servers, WINS, and Zone Transfers. Properties dialog boxes for Active Directory–integrated zones include a sixth tab, Security, that allows you to configure access permissions for the zone.

To open a properties dialog box for a particular zone, right-click the node of the zone you want to configure in the DNS console, and then select Properties, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Opening the properties dialog box for a zone

General Tab

The General tab, shown in Figure 2, allows you to temporarily suspend name resolution and to configure four basic features: zone type (including Active Directory integration), zone file name, dynamic updates, and aging.

Figure 2. General tab


Zone Status

The Pause button allows you to pause and resume name resolution for the zone. Note that this feature does not allow you to pause or resume the DNS Server service.

Zone Type

Clicking Change opens the Change Zone Type dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Change Zone Type dialog box


The Change Zone Type dialog box allows you to reconfigure the zone as a primary, secondary, or stub zone. A primary zone stores the most current records and settings for the zone. For each standard zone that is not Active Directory–integrated, only one primary DNS server is allowed, and this server contains the only read/write version of the zone database. A secondary zone is a read-only copy of the primary zone used to improve performance and fault tolerance. A stub zone is a copy of a zone that contains only those resource records necessary to identify the actual authoritative DNS servers for that zone.

Active Directory Service Integration

Selecting the Store The Zone In Active Directory check box in the Change Zone Type dialog box allows you to store the primary zone information in the Active Directory database instead of in the WINDOWS\System32\Dns folder. In Active Directory–integrated zones, zone data is replicated through Active Directory. In most cases, this eliminates the need to configure zone transfers to secondary servers.

Tip

To migrate a standard primary server, configure a secondary server, transfer the zone to the secondary server, and then promote the secondary server to a primary server. After the secondary server has been promoted, you can delete the original primary server.


There are several advantages to integrating your DNS zone with Active Directory. First, because Active Directory performs zone replication, you do not need to configure a separate mechanism for DNS zone transfers. Fault tolerance, along with improved performance from the availability of multiple read/write primary servers, is automatically supplied by the presence of multimaster replication on your network. Second, Active Directory allows for single properties of resource records to be updated and replicated among DNS servers. Avoiding the transfer of many and complete resource records decreases the load on network resources during zone transfers. Finally, Active Directory integration allows you to configure access security for stored records, which prevents unauthorized updates.

Planning

If you can deploy an Active Directory–integrated zone, do. It reduces administrative headache, improves security, and minimizes zone transfer traffic. Because of these advantages, you should plan to use a standard primary or secondary zone only when you want to deploy a DNS server on a computer that is not an Active Directory domain controller.

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